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Cerulea to boost access to sight-saving therapies

Cerulea Clinical Trials, launched today in Melbourne, will bring more international trials to Victoria and give people living with vision loss and blindness early access to sight-saving therapies.

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To mark World Clinical Trials Day, Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Medical Research, the Hon Ben Carroll, launched Cerulea Clinical Trials – a new specialist ophthalmic clinical trial facility established by the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

Cerulea Clinical Trials is supported by a $10 million investment from Breakthrough Victoria and is expected to deliver clinical trials to more than 2500 Victorians a year over the next decade and create 50 new jobs.

A fully owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of CERA, Cerulea Clinical Trials will specialise in advanced therapeutics to prevent and treat blindness, including gene and cell therapies, biologics and medical devices.

Cerulea will collaborate with pharmaceutical and medtech companies from around the world and be the home of clinical research conducted by scientists from CERA and ophthalmology researchers with the University of Melbourne’s Department of Surgery.

It will test new therapies for eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, inherited retinal disease and other rare genetic eye conditions – with a major focus on trialing new therapies for diseases that currently have no treatment or cure.

In the next year Cerulea expects to begin new clinical trials on gene therapies for retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt’s disease.

Cerulea will also boost local research, ensuring that new eye treatments and devices developed in Australia are trialed here where they can benefit local patients first.

Celebrating Cerulea: Minister Carroll, John Brumby and trial participant Kate with CERA, Cerulea and RVEEH representatives.

The state-of-the art centre, which houses next generation eye photography and imaging suites, vision lanes, as well as laser and treatment rooms in which therapies can be administered and monitored, is located at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in East Melbourne.

It will also expand access to the community by delivering trials via a growing network of suburban and regional eye clinics and a planned tele-trials service.

Cerulea Clinical Trials CEO Michelle Gallaher said the new centre would harness the growing investment in the global ophthalmic research market to bring more clinical trials to Australia.

“There is a growing pipeline of discovery with new medicines and devices being developed around theworld and Cerulea Clinical Trials provides the perfect location to conduct these trials.

“Our aim is to build a specialist clinical trial centre that cements Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in preventing blindness and reducing the impact of vision loss.

“Cerulea aims to provide the best possible experience for patients, researchers, clinicians and industry partners.”

Professor Keith Martin, Cerulea Clinical Trials Chair, CERA Managing Director and University of Melbourne Professor and Head of Ophthalmology, said investment in the new centre was a major boost for eye care and eye research in Victoria.

“Cerulea will support the work of lab-based scientists to develop innovative new treatments to prevent vision loss and restore sight,’ he said.

“It will also benefit local eye care professionals who will be able to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients by providing them access to emerging treatments in clinical trials.’’

Minister for Medical Research Ben Carroll said: “We’re backing life changing research and therapy for eye disease which is a testament to Victoria’s world class medical research sector. This will be developed locally for the benefit of Victorians and patients around the world.”

Breakthrough Victoria CEO, Grant Dooley said: “Cerulea’s opening is exactly the outcome we wanted out of Breakthrough Victoria’s investment – to accelerate and help commercialise existing world-class medical research in the state.

“This dedicated eye clinical trials centre will not only benefit local researchers and healthcare innovators in Victoria but also provide patients with access to new eye treatments and technologies.’’

To register for a clinical trial at Cerulea visit: ceruleaclinicaltrials.org.au/take-part-in-research

Read the announcement from the Minister for Medical Research: All Eyes On New Clinical Trials Vision Research Centre

 

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